Bennigan's Bankruptcy Bodes Ill for Restaurants

by: Michael Shedlock

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Bennigan's, Steak & Ale Close, File for Bankruptcy Protection.

National restaurant chains Bennigan's and Steak & Ale have closed their doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, shuttering more than 300 locations and letting go of thousands of employees.

It is one of the country's largest restaurant bankruptcies and eliminates two sit-down chains that have been part of the casual-dining landscape for decades. The chains will liquidate and aren't likely to re-open.

Late Monday, managers at Bennigan's and Steak & Ale were told not to open restaurants the next day, according to two people familiar with the matter. Employees were told there wouldn't be enough money to pay ... Rest By Subscription

Independent Franchise Locations Remain Open

CBS News is reporting

Bennigan's Restaurants Shut Down Nationwide


As CBS 2's Joanie Lum reports, Bennigan's Grill and Tavern closed all of its corporate-owned locations nationwide after filing for bankruptcy. Independent franchises remain open for business as usual.

The corporate-owned locations comprise about half the entire chain.

Bennigan's spokeswoman Leah Templeton said Bennigan's and Steak & Ale restaurants – both of which are owned by Plano, Texas-based Metromedia Restaurant Group – have filed for bankruptcy, along with the holding company S&A Restaurant Corp.

The bankruptcy filing does not affect other two restaurant chains owned by Metromedia, Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse, Templeton said in the statement.

No Warning

Here's the deal. People cannot afford to eat out, Bennigan's could not raise prices (if it could have it would have) nor could it lower them to attract business because its debt load was too high. Simply put, Bennigan's was overleveraged with enormous debt and no way to pay it back.

Bankruptcy is going to be the final resting place for many restaurants, small corporations, and even entire malls in the same predicament. Yes, this is deflation at work.

Expect to see more restaurants close without warning. Also, it's very important to remember that it was primarily service jobs that kept this economy running. The service sector is now at long last starting to crumble. Unemployment is poised to soar.